School Reports 2014: CHI & Partners


Score: 7  Last year: 6

After forming a joint venture with the WPP network Bates Asia in 2012, CHI & Partners continued to rethink its structure last year, creating a holding company called The&Partnership with its affiliates. The idea is to keep agency founders involved in their businesses as senior partners, instead of them losing interest at the end of their earn-outs, and to integrate disciplines. Naturally, WPP has a significant minority stake in the venture.

The good news for CHI & Partners is that the makeover hasn’t hit the agency where it hurts – in the creative department. No single ad stood above the rest in 2013, but the quality was consistently high.

CHI & Partners started the year strongly with TV spots for Anchor and Samsung – even if the latter was marred by claims of plagiarism by the former Beta Band singer Steve Mason – and kept standards high in lower-profile ads for The Prince’s Trust and Wing-Co, before rounding 2013 off with the charming "date night" film for TalkTalk.

The agency will be sore about having to repitch for Argos following its "alien family" work – justly so given its ads were so successful for the retailer – but perhaps less concerned about losing a place on the Government roster after gloomy tales were told by those who have subsequently pitched for business through the Government Procurement Service.

In 2013, CHI & Partners also waved goodbye to Danny Josephs, who left after 12 years to run WPP’s Team News.

On a cheerier note, the agency won Lexus’ first global brief, landed more work for British Gas and captured Vertu’s creative account. Not too shabby a performace, but there’s still daylight between CHI & Partners and the industry’s elite.

How CHI & Partners rates itself: 7

CHI & Partners' year in a Tweet: We launched a new business and we won new business aplenty and we picked up lots of creative awards for lots of our clients along the way

CHI & Partners
Type of agency Full service
Company ownership Independent
Key personnel Johnny Hornby founding partner
Sarah Golding chief executive
Nick Howarth chief executive
Jonathan Burley executive creative director
Neil Goodlad chief strategy officer
Nielsen billings 2013 £170m
Nielsen billings 2012 £182m
Declared income £31.3m
Total accounts at year end 28
Accounts won 6 (biggest: Vertu)
Accounts lost 2 (biggest: COI)
Number of staff 276 (+3%)

Score key: 9 Outstanding  8 Excellent  7 Good  6 Satisfactory  5 Adequate  4 Below average  3 Poor  2 A year to forget  1 Survival in question

Footnote: *indicates where agencies claim the corporate governance constraints of the Sarbanes-Oxley legislation.